Antibiotics Levaquin, Cipro and Avelox hit with wave of lawsuits for peripheral neuropathy

A wave of lawsuits involving the antibiotics Levaquin, Cipro and Avelox are bring filed by people throughout the U.S. who have been diagnosed with peripheral neuropathy after using one of the popular antibiotics

There are currently at least 59 peripheral neuropathy suits filed against makers of the antibiotics, which is more than double the number reported only eight weeks ago. Levaquin, Avelox and Cipro are all antibiotics that are part of the same class of medications, known as fluoroquinolones, which have been linked to reports of permanent and debilitating nerve damage that may cause individuals to experience problems for years after they stop using the medications.

The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) is scheduled to hear oral arguments on a motion to establish an antibiotic peripheral neuropathy MDL during a session in San Francisco on July 30. There is another grouping of such suits before U.S. District Judge David R. Herndon in the Southern District of Illinois, to reduce duplicative discovery into common issues, avoid conflicting pretrial rulings from different courts and to serve the convenience of the parties, witnesses and the courts.

The claims say that the manufacturers of Levaquin, Avelox or Cipro failed to provide adequate warnings for consumers and the medical community about the risk of long-lasting peripheral neuropathy from the antibiotics.

Levaquin, Avelox and Cipro are among the most widely used antibiotics in the United States, which are all part of the same fluoroquinolone class of drugs.

Peripheral neuropathy involves damage to the nerves that may impair sensation, movement and other aspects of health. This may leave users with persistent pain, burning, tingling, numbness, weakness and sensitivity to light touches, temperature and motion in the arms and legs, as well as other problems that cause a major disruption to daily activities.

Plaintiffs say that the drug makers are falsely saying reports of peripheral neuropathy among users were rare and that the nerve problems resolve when the medications are no longer used. The new label warnings indicated that the problems could be permanent and urge doctors to consider switching patients to a different class of antibiotics if they experience symptoms of peripheral neuropathy.

The lawsuits allege that the drug makers knew or should have known for years about the link between peripheral neuropathy and antibiotic use, with indications raised in a study published as early as 2001, which highlighted reports of 45 patients who suffered persistent peripheral nervous system damage. Plaintiffs maintain that if adequate warnings had been provided about the risk of permanent neuropathy problems, they may have avoided painful and debilitating injuries.

Jeffrey Newman represents whistleblowers.